losing access to the sea. A general tendency of a slow shift to the west has been documented. Although the harbors of Ephesos evoke only a rudimentary image in the minds of scholars’ current geoarchaeological, geophysical and archaeological research has led to numerous new ideas that expand our knowledge. This paper addresses these new approaches to research.
The development of the Ephesian landscape is similar to that of many other cities in western Asia Minor: it is marked by constant geomorphological and ecological changes (
Complex processes of sedimentation and erosion as well as shifting ground and sea water levels lead to these continual shifts. Sedimentation processes are typically linked to a rise in sea water levels which slow down the streams and rivers and hamper the dis-charge of solids into the ocean. Erosion processes though stem from human influences on the environment: massive deforestation, irrigation and agricultural use of land greatly affect the development of the landscape
A short climb to the top of the seating section of the theater allows for a view of the silted plain that separates the ancient city from the sea. This vantage point provides the viewer with a better understanding for the interaction between natural forces and human activ-ity which shaped the landscape through habitation and economic exploitation (
Amidst the constant and at times abrupt changes of the landscape a city like Ephesos was continually in search of the place. Due to the constant changes smaller settle-ments along the coast had to frequently change their location to avoid drowning or los-ing access to the sea and harbor. A general tendency of a slow shift to the west has been documented.The coastal line in the bay of the Küçük Menderes (the ancient Cayster River) has changed greatly from the Neolithic period.
The situation of the population becomes more understandable if these significant changes are fully considered: in the Neolithic period the bay reached up to 18 km inland while today through the gradual sediment infill, 5 km separate Ephesos from the sea. The reasons for the prosperity of Ephesos are threefold: the sanctuary of Artemis, the rich and fertile hinterland and the harbor as pivotal commercial center where products were exported to the east and imported from the west of the empire. Ephesos was the final stop of an important caravan route that transported products from Anatolia and the Near East. These products were then redistributed to the entire Mediterranean